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Great review for Mascagni's <i>Messa in Gloria</i> in <i>The Daily Telegraph</i>

Great review for Mascagni's Messa in Gloria in The Daily Telegraph

19th February 2005 The Daily Telegraph www.arts.telegraph.co.uk Stefano Secco (tenor), Cosimo Diano (baritone), Tölz Boys' Choir, St Petersburg Chamber Choir, I Solisti Veneti, cond. Claudio Scimone Warner Fonit 505046 71202-2 In 1888, two years before the sensational success of Cavalleria rusticana, Mascagni composed this mass for his conservatory students. "It is extremely easy to perform, and at the same time makes a certain impact," he wrote - a fair summary of a work long in singable tunes, bouncy rhythms and simple diatonic harmonies. From the swooning strings of the Kyrie, the theatre is never far away. The "Et in terra pax" must be the jauntiest setting of all time, while the "Domine Deus" could have frolicked its way straight out of a Rossini comedy. Elsewhere there are brash, feelgood choruses, lushly operatic solos and even a palm-court-style violin solo, complete with mini-cadenza, to symbolise the elevation of the host. This least solemn and sophisticated of masses offers minimal scope for subtlety. And despite the odd rough edge - and a rather colourless baritone soloist - Claudio Scimone directs an aptly full-blooded performance. The Russian chorus, though sometimes masked by the orchestra, has fun with its rousing march tunes, while the ardent, sappy tenor Stefano Secco helps to make the "Laudamus" and "Qui tollis" highpoints of the whole mass. Richard Wigmore © The Daily Telegraph